Heineken Cape to Rio 2011 - Latest from Race HQ

Xtra-Link - Heineken Cape to Rio 2011
Heineken Cape to Rio - Despite a diversion in mid-Atlantic to help another yacht which had run out of water, Dale Kushner’s Xtra-Link arrived in Rio on Friday morning to take third place on handicap in the Heineken Cape to Rio yacht race.

Xtra-Link is the fourth boat to cross the finish line in Rio and could still take second place overall if, in the unlikely scenario, Mike Robinson’s Ciao Bella hits a big hole and doesn’t pitch by Saturday.

Gerry Hegie’s City of Cape Town, the overall winners of the race, arrived on Tuesday morning.

Commenting about the dramatic request from race headquarters asking Xtra-Link to go to the rescue of the stricken Izivunguvungu, Kushner made it clear that he had no desire to see yacht disqualified from the race.

'The rules are very clear, black and white, about taking water on board, but my personal opinion is that I would not want them disqualified. Rather give them a twenty-four hour penalty or something, that would be fair.

'It wouldn’t affect us if they were disqualified or not, but obviously I would feel sorry for anybody if they sailed all this way and didn’t get a result. It would be very sad.'

Kushner also believes that crew members on board Izivunguvungu, skippered by Kader Williams, could have died if they had not received water: 'I have a funny feeling that they had already opened their life rafts to take the water out of them (life rafts) such was the shortage of water on board their yacht.'

Kushner breezed into Rio averaging about 14 knots on a favourable asymmetric angle, with South African navy entry Yachtport SA, lying sixth on handicap, arriving just before midday.

'It’s all surreal, being out there in the vast seas and now coming back and slap bang into civilisation. It’s going to take some adjusting,' said Yachtport watch captain Andre Bestha.

Kushner’s approach to Rio saw Xtra-Link sailing through seas riddled with oil rigs and then followed by the welcoming sight of a school of dolphins and the sounds of local music stations with good reception.

Yachts that should arrive in Rio by the weekend include, Izivunguvungu, presently 293nm from the finish after yesterday’s 24-run, and Nora Simrad (180nm), skippered by Norwegian Jan Evang.

Cape Storm, which had a promising start to race, was still 439nm from Rio, largely because skipper Sean Cummings sailed the yacht into a high pressure zone and then even deeper into it, resulting in windless conditions for an extended period.

For daily positions, click here

http://www.rcyc.co.za/c2r.html